“All” in Romans 5:18

Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

Now were we to take this as some would we would have to embrace a Universalist doctrine. We would be forced to say that as the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life therefore all men are justified. This of course proves too much. Orthodox Christians understand that other Scriptures clearly don’t allow for Universalism and therefore by comparing Scripture with Scripture we don’t believe this text is teaching universalism although some might think that is the face value of the text.

Neither can we get a Hypothetical universalism out of this text. There is nothing in Romans 5:12-21 that would indicate to us that Jesus only made Justification hypothetical or only possible. For example vs. 16 says the free gift resulted in justification. Vs. 16 does not say that the free gift resulted in possible justification. What Christ accomplished on the Cross was justification for His people, not a hypothetical justification for a hypothetical people.

We would note that Rm. 5:18-19 is a conclusionary statement summing up what the Apostle has set out in vs. 12-17. That which the Apostle has set out in those verses is the relationship between Adam as a Federal Head and all those in Him and the relationship between Christ as a Federal head and all those in Him.

Note vs. 16 — Judgment from one offense resulted in condemnation. To whom does this Condemnation apply? Well to all who are Federally united to the First Adam (cmp. vs. 12) Meanwhile the Free gift results in Justification. To whom does this Justification apply? Well for all who were and are Federally united to the Second Adam.

Now we turn to the word “all” in Romans 5:18

Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation;

I would say given the way the Apostle’s argument has developed in 12f that the first “all” is inclusive of all those who ever were Federally united to Adam. (Which means everybody since, “In Adam’s fall we sinned all”)

continuing in Romans 5:18

“even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”

Similarly I would say given the way the Apostles argument has developed in 12f that this second “all” is an all that is just as inclusive as the first all, with the understanding that it is referring to the “all” that are Federally united to the Second Adam.

So, the word “all” is the first instance is referring to the all who have been united to the First Adam. While the second all is speaking of a different all, to wit, all those united to the Second Adam.

So, the word all here does not apply to the same grouping of people but still is appropriate given that it applies to the total that is related to each Federal Head (Adam and Christ respectively). All of this is supported by the main thrust of the Apostle’s analogy. To wit, that there is a parallel between Adam and Christ in that condemnation and justification are the direct fruit of their disobedience and obedience. To say that all bore the fruit of condemnation from their Federal relation to Adam and that all might only possibly bear the fruit of justification by their possible relation to the Second Adam completely deconstructs the Apostles analogy. Being Federally united to Christ had consequences that were never merely possible just as being in Adam had consequences that were never merely possible.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Kinist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture . Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

3 thoughts on ““All” in Romans 5:18”

  1. The Greek word for “all”(pas) is one which needs to be read with careful attention to the context in which it is used throughout the New Testament. John Calvin, for example, shows that “all” in I Timothy 2:4 means all without distinction, rather than all without exception – which is actually quite clear from the context in which the word is used.

  2. The key word is “many.” While justification and

    One of the reasons for the recent Vatican-imposed retranslation of the English mass was to get this word into the mass.

    Justification is open to all, but some reject it. After all, even the Muslims believe that Jesus will come to judge the living and the dead, and that some will be condemned to Hell.

    1. Bob,

      Justification is not open to all. Subjective justification is open to only those for whom Christ provided objective justification in his death on
      death on the Cross.

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